Brendan O’Neill wins the sneering prize


Brendan O’Neill sneers again – this time at women resisting misogynist silencing campaigns.

One of the great curiosities of modern feminism is that the more radical the feminist is, the more likely she is to suffer fits of Victorian-style vapours upon hearing men use coarse language. Andrea Dworkin dedicated her life to stamping out what she called “hate speech” aimed at women. The Slutwalks women campaigned against everything from “verbal degradation” to “come ons”. And now, in another hilarious echo of the 19th-century notion that women need protecting from vulgar and foul speech, a collective of feminist bloggers has decided to “Stamp Out Misogyny Online”. Their deceptively edgy demeanour, their use of the word “stamp”, cannot disguise the fact that they are the 21st-century equivalent of Victorian chaperones, determined to shield women’s eyes and cover their ears lest they see or hear something upsetting.

Like this, he or the Telegraph helpfully illustrates:

 Oh yes, that’s it exactly – we’re all falling over, because we’re so fragile and stupid.

Would even Brendan O’Neill sneer in quite such a contemptuous way if the issue were racism instead of misogyny? Would he (or the Telegraph) include a cartoon like that, mocking the very idea of disliking and resisting racism? I do him the credit to doubt that he would, and the discredit to point out that he has no business having different standards for women.

…the most striking thing about these fragile feminists’ campaign is the way it elides very different forms of speech. So the Guardian report lumps together “threats of rape”, which are of course serious, with “crude insults” and “unstinting ridicule”, which are not that serious. If I had a penny for every time I was crudely insulted on the internet, labelled a prick, a toad, a shit, a moron, a wide-eyed member of a crazy communist cult, I’d be relatively well-off.

He says, missing the point by a mile. A toad, a shit, a moron, are all generic. It’s interesting that he didn’t include any anti-Irish epithets, but even if he had, at this point in history they don’t have the bite that racist or homophobic or sexist ones do. (But I’m not Irish. Correct me if I’m wrong and they still have all the old bite.)

He prides himself on being a libertarian contrarian. That’s nice, but he doesn’t get to ignore reality to shore up his case. Being called a cunt is not the same kind of thing as being called a shit.

For better or worse, crudeness is part of the internet experience, and if you don’t like it you can always read The Lady instead.

He says, exemplifying the problem himself. Either you put up with being called a cunt every time you say anything or you have to go read something called “The Lady.” Why would those be the only choices? Why does Brendan O’Neill feel so comfortable letting his contempt for women show?

Muddying the historic philosophical distinction between words and actions, which has informed enlightened thinking for hundreds of years, is too high a price to pay just so some feminist bloggers can surf the web without having their delicate sensibilities riled.

Of course it is true that the standard of discussion on the internet leaves a lot to be desired. There is a remarkable amount of incivility and abusiveness on the web. But that is no excuse for attempting to turn the internet into the online equivalent of a Women’s Institute meeting, where no one ever raises their voice or “unstintingly ridicules” another or is crude. I would rather surf a web that caters for all, from the clever to the cranky, rather than put up with an internet designed according to the needs of a tiny number of peculiarly sensitive female bloggers.

More easy contempt –  “their delicate sensibilities,” “a Women’s Institute meeting,” “peculiarly sensitive female bloggers.” And one of the tags on that piece is, incredibly – “wallflowers.”

It’s just unbelievable.

 

Comments

  1. KG says

    Would he (or the Telegraph) include a cartoon like that, mocking the very idea of disliking and resisting racism? I do him the credit to doubt that he would

    I think you may be giving too much credit: if he thought he could get away with it, and if the Telegraph thought it could, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see such a thing. IOW, I’m not convinced the bigots have abandoned racism; if they win their fight to defend the misogynistic barrage of hate women and anti-sexist bloggers face, they will seek to extend that victory to open racist abuse.

  2. Philip Legge says

    I wish it were unbelievable, but unfortunately this is a standard dismissive trivialisation of the issue – has Brendan O’Neill read “Derailing for Dummies”? He’s following about four or five different tropes of derailing the argument, as well as invoking the all-too-familiar “free speech” canard to defend what is arguably sexually harassing hate speech.

    e.g. three links to the “Derailing” website: “If I had a penny for every time I was crudely insulted on the internet…”

    “their delicate sensibilities”, “peculiarly sensitive female bloggers”

  3. hotshoe says

    Dayumn, that Brendan O’Neill is one fine hypocrite. His masthead reads:

    Brendan O’Neill is the editor of spiked, an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.

    (emphasis mine)

    So what, exactly does he think this campaign against online misogyny is, besides a “culture war of words” ?

    It’s OK when he tries to do it, but not okay when the wimmenz try to do it ?

    Fuck you very much, Brendan O’Neill, you jumped-up bog trotter.

  4. Jason says

    From O’Neill’s wiki:
    “His book From Bosnia to Beslan: How the West Spread al-Qaeda, published in 2010, blamed humanitarian interventions in countries such as Afghanistan and Bosnia for promoting terrorist groups and destabilising developing states.”

    Also, as required when dealing with O’Neill & “Spiked”, it should be mentioned how O’Neill worked at “Living Marxism”, the “Spiked” predecessor which went bankrupt after it lost a libel case against ITN when the magazine slandered ITN’s famous report/photographs of Bosnian-Muslims in Bosnian-Serb concentration camps (see the original article ‘The Picture that Fooled the World’ by Thomas Deichmann).

    In summary: Brendan O’Neill = contrary, reactionary fucking idiot

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Correct me if I’m wrong and [anti-Irish epithets] still have all the old bite.

    Nay, but they still serve as a foine excuse to bring out the old shillelagh for a wee bit o’ cross-cultural education.

  6. says

    I’ve mentioned O’Neill and/or Spiked and/or the Institute of Ideas and/or Claire Fox and/or Frank Furedi so many times by now that I don’t explain about Living Marxism every time, but yes, always keep in mind that O’Neill and Spiked and the rest of them were once Living Marxism. Their unity-through-change is beyond creepy.

  7. Ewan Macdonald says

    Very important thing to understand about Brendan O’Neill.

    When Brendan O’Neill pronounces: it’s a fearless broadside against the enemies of free speech.

    When someone disagrees with Brendan O’Neill: they are a vile censor, or a Mary Whitehouse disciple, or a common-or-garden prude.

    “Women’s Institute” is an epithet he throws out a lot, by the way. He shows his age with it.

  8. Lyanna says

    Why is Brendan O’Neill’s delicate libertarian sensibilities so hurt by women complaining about misogynist speech, and warning each other about the likely perpetrators of such speech, and blocking them from their websites?

    Is the internet supposed to be the online equivalent of a frat house, wherein no pathetic woman-hating male encounters any challenge to his pathologies?

  9. Eric O says

    “I would rather surf a web that caters for all, from the clever to the cranky, rather than put up with an internet designed according to the needs of a tiny number of peculiarly sensitive female bloggers.”

    Why is it that every time a movement tries to create change by consciousness raising, opponents feel the need to portray the movement as if it were comprised of authoritarians who are hellbent on suppressing all dissenting views? I’m sure it’s just a rhetorical trick in this case; I doubt O’Neill is stupid enough to believe that feminists are trying to police the Internet, but he is dishonest enough to raise the specter of online “feminazis”.

  10. mirax says

    #7 @Ophelia,

    Yeah I used to read Spike regularly some years back. Initially you get excited by some of the columnists, say Munira Mirza, (and Kenan Malik has a long association with LM and Spike too dont forget) and then soon the gloss wears off as you realise how reactionary rather than radical their stance often is. KM is the best of the lot.

  11. says

    Ah, yes. Do it our way or get off the playing field…
    Only that of course women don’t get treated equally on the internet. From being made sexual offers, to bei ng ignored, to being insulted just for being women in ways that make clear that being a woman is a crime as such.
    Male bloggers like PZ Myers who is a magnet for hate mail testify to the fact that their hate mail is of a different quality and that the sexually explicit hate mail usually depicts them as being gay or women, playing on the old trope that only men who are penetrated (like women, yuck) are gay, while penetrating is the ultimate sign of manhood.
    Openly female commenters notice that they’re being treated differently in discussions. You can see that over and over again at Pharyngula where MRAs (who will usually preface everything by saying that, in fact they are not MRAs and perfectly reasonable) reply to the points made by posters with a male nym, but ignore whatever commenters perceived as female say.
    There are the experiences of men who dared to enter the web under a female nym.
    All those things show that we’re not being very sensitive and delicate little flowers, but that we have indeed to put up with more than men do.

    Also, again and again: This is not a free speech issue. What I do or don’t want on my blog is my thing. I’m also not limiting your freedom of movement if I don’t invite you to my house.

  12. Godless Heathen says

    I don’t understand why free speech only applies to O’Neill and those who agree with him and not to those of us who disagree. No, we’re whiners who had our “delicate sensibilities” hurt.

  13. James Power says

    Correct me if I’m wrong and [anti-Irish epithets] still have all the old bite.

    Aside from the “Paddy Irish man” jokes and the idea that something designed in such a way as to not work or cause more trouble than it fixes is “a bit Irish”; Police vans in Ireland and the UK are still colloquially referred to as “Paddy wagons”, a reminder of a time when the standard British response to any problem involving civil unrest or for which it could reasonably be assumed that an Irish person was involved in a crime was to drive through the streets throwing any known Paddys into jail without trial and without letting many of them out again until they felt like it. I understand a similar solution was suggested in the House of Lords for the current “Muslim Problem” a couple of years ago though thankfully it didn’t gain much traction.

    At least they don’t still put up signs saying “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs”… Those poor black Irish Wolfhounds.

    I occasionally find when I am identified as Irish I’ll still get some racist nonsense thrown at me. Well, more culturalist perhaps since you don’t need to be the same race as me to be Irish and the majority of Irish and British folk are the same race, anyway… what was I even talking about? Sorry for the digression…

  14. Torquil Macneil says

    Once again I find myself agreeing with the thrust of this (and Brendan O’Neill is a boring poseur) but not agreeing with the detail. Being called a cunt is precisely the same as being called a shit. Or a dick. Or a moron. Or whatever. Threats of rape, even if not credible, are a very different thing and that is where the guns should be levelled, I think.

  15. Torquil Macneil says

    @James Power, ‘Paddy wagon’ is actually a US term which hasn’t been much imported into the UK, I don’t think. It’s generally thought that it comes from the fact that so many policemen were Irish, rather than so many criminals, although it could be the other way round.

    You are right that all the people of the British Isles are of the same race, of course. But then all of us are, wherever we come from.

  16. Dave says

    “the standard British response to any problem involving civil unrest or for which it could reasonably be assumed that an Irish person was involved in a crime was to drive through the streets throwing any known Paddys into jail without trial and without letting many of them out again until they felt like it.”

    I find your characterisation of my ethnicity extremely offensive, and demand that you, and everybody like you, stop doing it immediately, and forever.

  17. says

    Being called a cunt is precisely the same as being called a shit. Or a dick. Or a moron. Or whatever.

    No it is not. Shit and moron are generic. Dick is not the same just as honky is not the same as nigger. Shit, dick and moron are all, at least in the US, very much milder than cunt. There is no “whatever” here – there are gradations. If your point is that name-calling in general is bad, fine, but it’s not the case that each coin is worth the same as every other coin.

  18. Aquaria says

    I guess he doesn’t get the difference between “Fucking asshole” and “Fucking bitch.”

    There is a difference, and this fucking scumbag is too stupid to get it.

    Parse that, Brendan, you sorry sack of shit.

  19. Torquil Macneil says

    It’s true that there are gradations of intensity, Ophelia, and being called a ‘cunt’ is sometime stronger than being called, say, a ‘cock’ (although not always, for sure)but it is just the same in the sense that it is just obscene name calling and women bloggers can expect to attract as much of it as the boys.

  20. says

    Torquil – you know that for a fact? That women get (or “can expect to attract”) just as much of it as the boys, no more and no less? I don’t know that, and I don’t think you do either.

    But in any case it’s not much to the point, for the reasons I indicated. Do I have to spell it out? Women are considered inferior; in particular, stupid. Being called a name that implies superior, in particular, less stupid, is not insulting in the same way.

  21. hotshoe says

    . . . you jumped-up bog trotter.

    C’mon hotshoe, was it necessary to go there?

    Uh, yeah, it’s exactly the point. Brendan O’Neill says “If I had a penny for every time I was crudely insulted on the internet, labelled a prick, a toad, a shit, a moron, a wide-eyed member of a crazy communist cult” and Ophelia noticed that he didn’t happen to include any Irish specific examples. Is that because Irish examples no longer sting, or is it because Irish examples sting O’Neill too much for him to stand repeating them ? Or something.

    Well, I know Brendan O’Neill is not actually going to read my reply in Ophelia’s thread, but I think we needed to see a typical example of an anti-Irish insult to see how it compares to the “you’re too ugly to ever be raped” examples that O’Neill claims are nothing worse than being labeled a toad or a shit.

    Are you Irish ? Does bog-trotter hit home to you ? I’m Irish. I’m laughing at it. I honestly don’t know how hurtful anti-Irish insults are, because I only have my own reaction to go by … but if they were hurtful to Brendan O’Neill, I’d certainly hope that he would learn something about his wrongness in dismissing misogynist insults that harm female bloggers.

    On one hand, there’s no evidence that O’Neill can learn anything, so in that sense it’s a pointless experiment. On the other hand, maybe some of the readers here can learn something, and hopefully, that will make my point.

  22. says

    That was absolutely how I understood hotshoe’s insult – as not literal but an illustration of my point about O’Neill.

    I’m very skeptical of the claim that both he and the Telegraph would be as indifferent to racist epithets and cartoons as they are with sexist ones.

  23. says

    @hotshoe: Ok, alright, I get it. Apologies. No, I’m not Irish. I don’t think there are any epithets for Finnish folk, so I can’t relate on a personal level. At any rate, sorry for missing the point.

  24. says

    OB – I think Torquil is British and so for him “cunt” isn’t an insult directed specifically at women as it is in the USA, I understand. However it is worse than “dick” or “shit” – it is about the worst insult you can throw at someone.

    As for O’Neill – I can’t think of an insult bad enough to throw at him. Every time women complain about men behaving like pigs, he immediately accuses them of being fragile flowers and/or trying to set up the Stasi. He’s a revolting piece of smugness.

  25. says

    Oh, and here’s a wee experiment for Brendan O’Neill. Change his name to Bridget O’Neill. Add a photograph. Go on pontificating in the same way eg that anything that liberals say or do shows their deep seated suspicion of the masses and working-classes. See how the quality and/or quantity of abuse changes, and how he will be on the receiving end of violent sexual fantasies, along with a fair amount of anti-Irishness. Observe how the abusers will ignore his arguments and concentrate on his looks.

  26. says

    Rosie, I know, but 1. people ought to be aware of the US meaning by this time and 2. even if it’s applied to men it still refers to the female genitalia so it’s applied to women in the process of being applied to men. If Torquil doesn’t know this he ought to figure it out, if he’s going to argue about it.

  27. cpt banjo says

    I went back and read the original Guardian article and found a conspicuous absence of any suggested solution to the problem. While lambasting O’Neill for his dismissive attitude toward the complainants, no one has confronted his question, “who exactly is supposed to do all this “stamping out” of heated speech – The state? Well, who else could do it?” Perhaps this is too off-topic, and the point of Ophelia’s original essay was simply to demonstrate that O’Neill is a pig.

  28. hotshoe says

    @hotshoe: Ok, alright, I get it. Apologies. No, I’m not Irish. I don’t think there are any epithets for Finnish folk, so I can’t relate on a personal level.

    Oh, no worries, Nathan. I knew there was a risk that I wasn’t getting my point across the way I heard it in my own head, always a risk.

    Your mention of Finnish folk gets my curiosity. Do you think maybe the reason why English doesn’t have any anti-Finn epithets is because the Finns were never seen as lowly (peasantry) and therefore didn’t get the kind of reaction we see in Americans fearful of proletariat immigration referring to (peasant) Italian immigrants as “wops”, (peasant) Mexican immigrants as “beaners”, etc. But then, that raises the question of what came first: maybe an irrational distrust/dislike of some ethnic groups, and then attributing to that group undesirable characteristics, which in turn salves people’s consciences for disliking them, because of course decent people would not mingle with that “low class”. Certainly, ethnic slurs are not all about class; just look at the ones which are about hair, eyes, and skin color.

    So how did the Finns (and for that matter, groups from Denmark, Sweden, Norway) escape irrational prejudice leading to epithets ? Just beautiful white skin and pale eyes, is that it ? I wonder.

  29. says

    Hard to say hotshoe. To my knowledge, the Finns didn’t stick around in the major areas of contention when they hit the US soil, but shifted to the Midwest. We were pretty settled by the time anyone else got here. That doesn’t explain why there are no epithets from Europe though. Maybe there are, and I simply don’t know of any. If any group has an epithet for the Finns, it’s probably the Swedes. Sweden conquered Finland at one time, and for a while at least the Finns didn’t get to have much power (although I’m hazy on the details — I want to say the Finns were just too damn stubborn for that to stick, but that could just be ethnic pride). I don’t remember hearing of any bad blood between the groups when I was out there, but I was only in Finland for a few weeks about 16 years ago.

    Btw, not all those of Finnish ancestry have pale eyes. Those who’s ancestry is from the Lapland area are likely to have brown eyes and hair (myself, for example).

  30. hotshoe says

    My ex is Finn descended; grandparents came to the USA as children. Dark brown hair, blue eyes in all three generations … so of course that’s my picture of Finnish.

    Sorry, Ophelia, end of derail.

  31. Torquil Macneil says

    ” I think Torquil is British and so for him “cunt” isn’t an insult directed specifically at women as it is in the USA, I understand. However it is worse than “dick” or “shit” – it is about the worst insult you can throw at someone.”

    Rosie, ‘cunt’ is strong but I don’t think it is necessarily the worst insult that can be thrown. But been if it is, I don’t think tat means anything very much, the weight of obscenities is pretty much arbitrary as can be seen by a bit of cross-cultural checking (‘cunt’ is a pretty mild expletive in Spain, for example, but call someone a ‘goat’ and you are likely to get punched). I a not suggesting that it is OK to be abusive, just that I don’t think the use of ‘cunt’ can tell you anything in particular, the way that rape treat or jokes can, because all words for genitalia are used abusively although it is true that in the UK it is rare for most of them to be used against women and that does always sound very odd in US movies.

  32. Jurjen S. says

    I think in the US, people of Finnish descent tend to get lumped in with other Nordics as “Scandahoovians” (sp?) and in this day and age, that’s more of a ribbing term of endearment than an epithet. That said, I’d bet there are some epithets for Finns in Swedish and Russian…

    Rosie’s got a point re: usage of the epithet “cunt.” I’m Dutch by birth, but I’ve spent enough time in England and around British that my cultural background–certainly where profanity is concerned–is strongly informed by British standards, and on the rare occasions that I use the word “cunt” as an epithet, it’s applied to men, not women. There is perhaps a different form of sexism inherent in that usage, in that the worst thing to call a man is the primary female genital organ, but somehow it still seems less nasty (if not by much) than insulting a woman with the body part that defines her as such.

    That said, the epithet “cunt,” in my opinion, derives much of its force not so much from its meaning as from the fact that it can be expelled so forcefully, a monosyllabic starting with a guttural /k/ sound.

    Back to the original post: yes, O’Neill very obviously misses the point, in no small measure because he simply cannot adequately imagine himself in the position of a female opinion writer on the Internet. He may have received hate mail because of what he (says he) thinks, but I doubt he’s received hate mail because of what he is, because, very simply, it’s practically unheard of for a man to be berated for daring to have an opinion (let alone disseminate it) while being a man. Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon don’t enter into it: they identified not just misogyny but “violence to women” in so many things one couldn’t help feeling the outrage was more than a little contrived, but when women bloggers as a general rule get hate mail about how they’re cunts who should be raped, well, that’s not so contrived. It’s a symptom that there’s a very sick attitude permeating some part of the men who inhabit the internet.

    For clarity, I’m a man, and a decade or so ago, I spent ten years working for the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, among other things dissecting witness statements for “who was where and when and did what to whom” and feeding that into a database. Not the kind of job in which you get to keep a healthy sense of humor, and Christ knows we made some severely off-color jokes just to cope, but the one thing none of us could make jokes about were rape cases.
    Just. Could. Not. Do. It.
    And to put that in perspective, we could joke about certain types of sexual assault, like a PoW camp guard forcing a prisoner to suck him off (“hey, a paragraph ago he was complaining they weren’t getting enough warm food and protein”). But there was a point where it got too ugly, and all you could do was step out for a smoke and get royally drunk after work so you could sleep that night.

    As a result, I simply cannot get my head around the idea that any person could wish such a thing upon another, even in “jest.”

  33. Jurjen S. says

    Addendum: O’Neill’s analogy of “protect[ing] women from coarse language” is of course horseshit. Said “Victorian efforts” were intended to shield women from merely reading or hearing words they might consider offensive, rather than shield them from verbal threats to their person, and it’s the latter we’re talking about here.

    None of the words “I” “be” “go” “kill” and “you” are offensive by themselves, but conjugate them into the sentence “I am going to kill you” and they become significantly nastier to the person to whom they are addressed than any combination of the s-word, f-word, c-word, etc. This is a fact O’Neill blithely ignores.

  34. says

    *mutter mutter grumble grumble*

    I think in the US, people of Finnish descent tend to get lumped in with other Nordics as “Scandahoovians” (sp?)

    Yes, and those fools are wrong.
    *mutter mutter grumble grumble* /flounce

  35. David Hart says

    As not just a British person, but specifically a Scottish person, I can add that for many people here ‘cunt’ is, if anything, most often used as an informal term of endearment, much like ‘rascal’. And certainly I’ve met people who use it in a way that makes it clear that to them it is just a synonym for ‘person’. But I don’t think O’Neill is likely to be one of them:-)

  36. Dunc says

    Swearing is one of those things that varies dramatically across cultures, even cultures which ostensibly share the same language. And yes, here in Scotland (where “fuckin'” isn’t swearing, it’s punctuation) “cunt” is frequently used as neutral term or even a term of endearment. (As in “Ah ken that cunt, he’s a guid cunt”. Cf “shit” – “that’s shit” – negative, “what’s this shit?” – neutral, “that’s some pretty good shit!” – positive.)

    If you really want to insult somebody in Scotland, you have to get inventive with your combinations. “Cunt” is more-or-less neutral, but “Tory cunt” is an invitation to a stabbing.

    However, there’s no resisting US cultural imperialism on the internet… ;)

    I’ve long since learned that I have to moderate my language for a US audience.

  37. says

    Well to be boringly literal for a moment, it’s not just a matter of US cultural imperialism – it’s also, and probably a good deal more, just a matter of A Lot of People.

    But you know, if you told me a particular word I liked to use was a vicious racist or sexist epithet in Scotland – I would expunge it from my vocabulary. I wouldn’t argue about it, or treat it as a precious part of my cultural heritage.

  38. hulagin says

    Received a reply from Mr. Oneill to my email criticising his article. In it he complains about the abusive emails he’s gotten in response. Not at all something to feel any victory over, but part of me wanted to reply with “Oh, perhaps you should stick to reading The Lady.”

  39. says

    Are there still glitches with comments? I got a comment on this thread in email that I was going to respond to, but now it’s not here. Something from an A.D. ickhead? Oh well, if it shows up it can be dealt with then.

  40. says

    No, that was my doing. I think Mr Ickhead was a classic MRA troll. I never used to get commenters like that, and now they’re like fleas. His comment was too formulaic and canned to be worth answering, in my view.

  41. A. D. Ickhead says

    @Ophelia Benson #45

    So insisting on gender equality makes one an MRA troll? I thought insisting on gender equality made one a feminist but I could be behind the times.

    I guess your silence with respect to my question regarding whether you wanted legislation to criminalize speech (and indeed in your post and your subsequent comments to the post) is an indication of your support for such legislation.

    And you call yourself a freethinker ;)

    @NathanDST #44

    I look forward to reading your response if you still care to send me one (here is a temporary e-mail address — adickhead@mailinator.com). Thanks.

  42. says

    No, that was my doing.

    Fair enough then.

    @ickhead: not really worth emailing you. You can do a search of the archives for B&W if you really want to know what Ophelia and other have had to say regarding your questions. They’ve been addressed before. Don’t forget to check the comments.

  43. says

    Oh goody, it’s back.

    No, Ickhead, the totality of your comment – including your nym – makes you a very obvious troll.

    I have nowhere suggested “legislation to criminalize speech.”

  44. says

    “I think people should act like decent human beings rather than bigoted pigs. Just a thought…”

    “ZOMG the political correctness is suffocating my freedom of expression!!!”

    *facepalm*

  45. D. A. EhkciD says

    Since my comment submitted > 3 days earlier has not been published I can only assume that the blogger has no interest in engaging with people who disagree with her. Which is sad when said blogger purports to be a “freethinker”.

    Anyway here is my “censored” comment —

    @Ophelia #48

    1. “Oh goody, it’s back.” — “It”? Am I not a human being? You decry misogyny but you have no compunction in dehumanizing somebody else if you disagree with them.

    2. “No, Ickhead, the totality of your comment – including your nym – makes you a very obvious troll.” — I chose my nym to highlight irony in which people are free to throw male-gender based insults but are overcome with the vapours when female-gender based insults are used. Why not be consistent and fight against any and all gender based insults? Is any one gender superior to the other? I think not.

    3. “I have nowhere suggested “legislation to criminalize speech.””. Wonderful. So can I assume that if A sues B necause B called A a female-gender based insult you will not support the action? And can I assume that you unlike others do not conflate female-gender based epithets with credible threats of violence and rape? Because if you do so conflate then it stands to reason that you want such epithets to be treated the same as threats which can lead to criminal liability, and your suggestion that you have nowhere suggested legislation to criminalize speech is not very credible nor indicative of your future intentions.

    4. As far as I can see you have not challenged (neither in your article nor in any of your follow up responses) O’Neill’s suggestion that the current wave of articles decrying internet misogyny are trying to erase the difference between threats of violence and ridicule.

  46. julian says

    Anyway here is my “censored” comment

    Meaning your comment wasn’t posted because it violated the pretty well known rules of the blog and not because Ms. Benson doesn’t want to engage with ‘dissent.’

    Am I not a human being?

    Actually you’re a troll. Different species, mate.

    Why not be consistent and fight against any and all gender based insults?

    Ms. Benson objects to male gendered insults. It’s just that the two don’t do comparable damage so she largely focuses on the more damaging of the two; female gendered insults.

    So can I assume that if A sues B necause B called A a female-gender based insult you will not support the action?

    That would largely depend on the case, now wouldn’t it?

    Please also note Ms Benson was talking about criminalizing such speech, not private action taken by private citizens.

    And can I assume that you unlike others do not conflate female-gender based epithets with credible threats of violence and rape?

    Ummm… what does this have to do with anything and just what is a credible threat of rape?

    and regarding 4) oh the irony of someone misrepresenting someone else’s argument and position and then going off on non-sequitors accusing someone of not addressing someone else’s argument.

  47. julian says

    Just re-read Dickhead’s post and have realized he probably did not mean to say he’d censored his comment to rid it of sexist slurs and the like. Sorry about that, but you should probably know this site has been undergoing a lot of maintenance lately and even before that the occasional comment would go missing. You’re accusation of trying to stifle disagreement doesn’t hold water.

  48. A.C. Ockhead says

    Seems like this website is undergoing some heavy maintenance, so resubmitting my comment

    ====

    @Julian #51

    1. “Actually you’re a troll. Different species, mate.” — Great work at dehumanization, “mate”. Let us “other” the person we disagree with and strip her/him of their humanity. You are a stellar person, “mate”.

    2. “Ms. Benson objects to male gendered insults. It’s just that the two don’t do comparable damage so she largely focuses on the more damaging of the two; female gendered insults.” — How do you know male gender based insults don’t do comparable damage? What about the gender straitjacket that “men are not supposed to talk of their how their feelings are hurt”? Why not condemn all gender based insults equally?

    3. “That would largely depend on the case, now wouldn’t it? Please also note Ms Benson was talking about criminalizing such speech, not private action taken by private citizens.” — I guess it is my mistake I was not clear. By “criminalizing such speech” I meant use of state power to suppress such speech. Private action via the state court system is a utilization of state power for the purpose of suppression of speech (an example of this are the privacy injunctions in the UK. [As always falsehoods are never protected speech] Can you give two examples, one where you would support the right to sue and one where you would not (and don’t conflate name calling with concrete threats to commit violence)? I don’t believe any speech should be a basis to sue unless it is a falsehood.

    4. “what does this have to do with anything and just what is a credible threat of rape?” Well over the last few weeks parts of the media have been been awash with article by authors of how bad they feel because they have been called names and have been inundated with threats of rape. This is a naked attempt to leverage the sympathy (and state power) due one for being threatened with rape to get the same for being called names. As a fellow-freethinker it has been disturbing to see Ms Benson having some sympathy towards the suppression of speech.

    5. The “censored” comment was to highlight the censorship on this blog to suppress dissenting voices. As for the tech difficulties, cry me a river. Ms Benson’s previous actions (such as deleting a previous post) indicate her censorious tendencies.

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